FEEDING THE LAMBS IN THE LORD’S FLOCK
What we spoke previously concerns the preaching of the gospel to save sinners, which is also what we call begetting. This is the first step. The second step is nourishing. After the begetting, there is the need of nourishing. We all know the story in John 21. The disciples were not able to catch any fish the entire night. Then the Lord came to perform a miracle, enabling them to catch a net full of fish, and He also prepared breakfast for them. After breakfast, the Lord said to Peter, "Do you love Me more than these?" Peter said, "Yes, Lord, You know that I love You." The Lord said, "Feed My lambs" (John 21:15). Of the four Gospels, the first three—Matthew, Mark, and Luke—charge us at the end to preach the gospel; only the Gospel of John charges us to feed the Lord’s lambs. Chapter fifteen says that we should bear remaining fruit, and chapter twenty-one says that we need to feed the lambs. Every one of us should not only preach the gospel to save sinners, but also should have two or three lambs in our hands.
The best way to feed the lambs is through the home meetings in the new believers’ homes. To ask the new believers to come to our homes is not as good as our going to their homes. This kind of feeding will enable the new believers to remain. When we take care of and nourish the new believers, we should be like a nursing mother cherishing her own babes (1 Thes. 2:7), not only feeding them but also caring intimately for them that they may be comforted and encouraged and may feel happy. This can be accomplished through the help of praying together, singing hymns, and reading the Word.
PERFECTING THE SAINTS
The third step is to perfect the saints, that is, to teach them (Eph. 4:11-12), which is usually carried out through the group meetings. If we lead people to salvation and feed them as lambs, we may bring them together to form a group meeting. The group meeting is not a religious service; it is the manifestation of the Christian living. It does not have a set way. Rather, it is free and informal. While we are on the way to the meeting, we should call on the Lord’s name and sing hymns. No one knows when the meeting begins. There are no regulations, and there is no one who takes the lead. Everyone simply lives together, and spontaneously there is fellowship, intercession, knowing the need of one another, and care for one another. Furthermore, this kind of group meeting is not a Bible-study with someone teaching and presiding over the meeting. Rather, it is a meeting for everyone to share and testify, to ask questions if they so desire, and to answer according to each one’s own knowledge and experience. Through this, everyone will receive the teaching and the help in truth and in life.
This kind of group meeting is the Christians’ "own" assembling as mentioned in Hebrews 10, which is for considering one another, inciting one another to love and good works, and exhorting one another (vv. 24-25). Therefore, we need to bring the new believers who are under our nourishing to attend this kind of group meeting. Besides the mutual fellowship, intercession, care, shepherding, and testifying, the main thing in the group meetings is to teach one another that all may be perfected. For this reason, we need to entreat and console the believers and to testify to them as a father to his own children (1 Thes. 2:11).
The final step is to prophesy for God, which we will cover in the next message.
The words I have presented before you are all according to the Scriptures. Therefore, this is the New Testament service ordained by God. I hope that you will bring this word to the Lord to pray much and to look to Him. May the Lord have mercy on us.
(A message given by Brother Witness Lee in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia on November 6, 1990)
(The Up-to-Date Presentation of the God-Ordained Way and the Signs Concerning the Coming of Christ, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)